West Allis mayor creates 'cash mob' events to help support struggling city restaurants

NOW: West Allis mayor creates ’cash mob’ events to help support struggling city restaurants

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- One Milwaukee County mayor is taking a unique approach to help struggling restaurants in his city.

At Public Table in West Allis, it’s the relationships with customers that are truly missed.

“We really miss that. We miss seeing people in every day, talking with them, sharing stories, sharing food, sharing drinks," Public Table Operating Partner John Clark said.

Like here and countless other restaurants across Wisconsin, the coronavirus pandemic has not been kind.

Clark said they’re down about 40% over 2019.

“And so basically, we were down about $120,000 in sales," he explained.

Since the pandemic hit, at least four West Allis restaurants have closed.

And after talking with a local owner about tough February sales, Mayor Dan Devine took action.

“They are really what brings the vibrancy to a neighborhood, or to a city, and if we lose them, then we lose our uniqueness and our vibe," said Devine.

He launched “Cash Mob West Allis” – using crowdsourcing and social media.

Each week, he’ll feature a participating restaurant for locals, or anyone, to visit.

It’s gaining steam online.

“When you get the reaction like ‘oh, I’ve always wanted to go try that place,' here’s your opportunity," said Devine.

Regardless of their views of the pandemic, Devine said no one wants to see people losing their jobs or their dreams.

And the folks at Public Table are grateful.

"Dan’s been a big support of the restaurant, but not only our restaurant, but every restaurant in the community," said Clark.

You can keep up with cash mob activities on Mayor Devine’s Facebook page.

Public Table will host its cash mob Wednesday, March 10, from 5-8 p.m.

Dine in or carryout will be available.

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